UK anti-piracy officer assures Firefox she'll catch the pirates who copy it

A Trading Standards officer in a town in the UK contacted the Mozilla foundation to assure it that she'd caught the icky pirates who were copying Firefox without permission. When the Mozzers explained free software and copyleft, the officer lost it — "I can't believe that your company would allow people to make money from something that you allow people to have free access to. Is this really the case? If Mozilla permit the sale of copied versions of its software, it makes it virtually impossible for us, from a practical point of view, to enforce UK anti-piracy legislation, as it is difficult for us to give general advice to businesses over what is/is not permitted."

I felt somewhat unnerved at being held responsible for the disintegration of the UK anti-piracy system. Who would have thought giving away software could cause such difficulties?

However, given that the free software movement is unlikely collectively to decide to go proprietary in order to make her life easier, I had another go, using examples like Linux and the OpenOffice office suite to show that it's not just Firefox which is throwing a spanner in the works.

She then asked me to identify myself, so that she could confirm that I was authorised to speak for the Mozilla Foundation on this matter. I wondered if she was imagining nefarious copyright-infringing street traders taking a few moments off from shouting about the price of bananas to pop into an internet cafe, crack a router and intercept her e-mail.